documentary hack

Athlete A

Bonnie Cohen, John Shenk

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

This documentary follows the reporters from The Indianapolis Star newspaper in their fight to expose serial rapist, child sex offender, and former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar.


Athlete A

Athlete A

by Bonnie Cohen


Athlete A tells the story of how the diligent research of journalists and the bravery of gymnasts resulted in the prosecution of serial rapist Larry Nassar. On January 24, 2018, the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor was sentenced to 175 years in prison. Athlete A was the court alias used by Maggie Nichols, one of the first gymnasts to report the abuse.

Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk have received numerous awards for their previous documentary work, such as An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power and The Island President. After their documentary Audrie & Daisy, examining the sexual assault and subsequent bullying of high school girls, was nominated at the Sundance Film Festival, Cohen and Shenk were approached by former gymnast and author Jennifer Sey about the Athlete A project.

This documentary details how accountability was shirked over decades and how young girls were silenced. Through a lengthy and painstaking fact-finding mission involving many reporters, law officials, and gymnasts, the toxic culture of psychological and physical abuse of young gymnasts at the hands of USA Gymnastics is revealed.

Favorite quote

Every time Angela stood up and said, 'Survivor XYZ is coming forward, and she has decided to speak publicly,' that was just an incredibly powerful statement every single time. Because it meant that they were able to put the shame not on themselves, but on their abuser.

- Rachael Denhollander, attorney and former gymnast

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